Botho College (BOTSWANA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 3477-3484
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
A wide gap seems to exist between Academia and Industry (Muller 2005). The curriculum being taught at universities though valuable and imparts knowledge, fails in preparing the graduates in the industry expected style (Rudzajs et al 2010). This gap seems to have a greater impact in a country like Botswana where citizens are funded for their education. So it is highly important to bridge this gap in order to make the students better able to succeed in a competitive job market. Perennially a lot of methodologies have been applied to narrow down this gap for the benefit of both the sectors. In this paper, authors discuss on one approach to promote industry based conceptual learning in classrooms. In this approach volunteer tutors establish an association and learn from alumni who are working in industry.

Tutor contacts and additional support from the institution help in establishing the associations with alumni. Once these contacts have been established a formal meeting is held to discuss the technical areas where they could be of help. Based on the area of expertise, alumni will now be grouped with tutors working in that area. These tutors will share the current syllabus with the associated alumni for feedback. Based on the feedback, tutor preferences and time available a number of topics are chosen for discussion. During these discussions, alumni share their industrial experiences with tutors, who introduce changes in lesson plans and instructional strategies enhancing student learning experiences. In this process, some tutors and alumni get an opportunity to indulge in deep learning because of the iterative discussion resulting from additional research pursued at both ends. However, others are still benefited by getting exposed to industry needs. It is recommended that the initial and follow-up discussions and the outcomes be systematically documented for future reference.

To obtain good results this collaboration needs to be effectively managed in terms of time and availability of both alumni and tutors. When making changes to their teaching approach it is important that the tutors ensure that they do not deviate from the syllabus.

It is believed that this small work Group (Employed Alumni and Tutors) will act as a platform for bridging the gap between the Industry and the Academia which may possibly grow as a bigger team of expertise. The alumni database maintained by the institutions could provide the foundation for this approach.

[1] G.J. Muller (2005) “Industry and Academia: Why Practitioners and Researchers are Disconnected” INCOSE; July 2005 in Rochester NY, USA (accessed on July 10, 2011)

[2] Peteris Rudzajs, Ludmila Penicina, Marite Kirikova, Renate Strazdina (2010) “Towards Narrowing a Conceptual Gap between IT Industry and University”, Scientific Journal of Riga Technical University. Computer Sciences, Volume 41 / 2010, 9-16
Collaboration, Alumni, Tutor, Academia, Industry, Teaching, Deep learning.